Steel Products

Market Chatter This Week

Written by Brett Linton

SMU canvassed steel buyers on a variety of subjects including steel prices, supply and demand, and new mill capacity on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Rather than summarizing the comments received, we are sharing them in each buyer’s own words.

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Where do you think steel prices will bottom, and when? Why do you think that?

“2 to 3 months from now, too much negativity in the market to slow and change trend.”

“$800s in August, temporary rise due to potential capacity taken out (various reasons, labor, etc) and then drop in Q4.”

“Prices should bottom out in the next 30-60 days. When lead times get into Sept./Oct. and world prices start to rise.”

“Q4 based on weak demand.”

“I am hoping the bottom is north of $800/ton, but this slide is impressive in that it is so damn quick and equally severe.”

“I would normally say we are at the bottom. Demand is still relatively good, so I think we are close to the bottom.”

“No idea.”

“August 2022 with labor issues coming into play, prices will rise throughout Q4FY22 then bottom again mid-FY2023 with additional demand for end goods softening.”

“$750+-. Mills breakeven going lower with scrap dropping. Poor demand makes mills more desperate.”

“High $700s/low $800s.”

Is demand improving, declining or stable, and why?

“Demand is stable. Good, not great.”

“Demand for steel buildings is declining. We’ve been in an building boom, and it’s now waning.”


“Declining, buyers think everything is terrible.”

“Stable, but our July is starting off stronger than expected.”

“Demand is stable, but at lower levels than previous 2 years.”

“Declining. Summer months, fears of a recession, no one buys as prices plummet.”

“Demand as in new orders are soft and declining from import sources.”

“Depends on market sector, stable to declining.”

Are supply chain issues getting better or worse, and why?

“Supply chain woes are continuing to be problematic for our customers, competitors and vendors. It is the second biggest issue we have behind labor shortages.”

“Supply chain issues are okay for some products and randomly unavailable for some other basic items.”

“They appear to be improving.”

“Still hit or miss. Things seem to be flowing through the ports better. But labor issues constrain production.”

“Same (bad).”

“Only worse part is the the price, no issues getting anything.”

“Supply chains are still an issue. Port congestion and inland transportation costs high.”

“They appear to be improving.”

“Worse – fuel prices are pushing owner/operator road carriers out of business.”


Are you seeing the impact of new North American capacity in the market? If yes, how so?

“Yes, very short lead times.”

“Lower prices.”

“I think domestic demand will catch up with supply as we head into 1st quarter next year. Impact now is lower pricing.”

“Not yet on the plate side but we will as we go through the 2nd half of this year.”

“We are indeed. The supply>demand dynamic is definitely in a bad spot. I also don’t see anything reversing course soon either – short of a work stoppage at a mill.”

“Steel is more readily available. Prices are getting better. Transportation is getting slower.”

“Do believe it’s a capacity impact, everyone overbought last year and now only buying what they absolutely need until the market stabilizes. Although in the steel industry, pricing is always either going up or going down!”

“Yes, plenty of availability.”


“Yes. Starting to hear about more agressive offers for flat steel from Midwest to West Coast. Especially HRC.”

“Not yet, but it’s coming.”

PSA: If you have not looked at our latest SMU Market Survey results, they are available here on our website to all Premium members. We often refer to this as our ‘Steel Market Trends Report,’ and we publish updates every other Friday. We encourage readers to explore the full results, as we simply cannot write about all of the information within. After logging in at, visit the Analysis tab and look under the “Survey Results” section for “Latest Survey Results.” Historical survey results are also available in the Survey Results section under “Survey Results History.”

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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